Sunday, May 07, 2006

Bowling Frustration

I went bowling with my wife this morning. We both struggled with our games. But I think she struggled more than I did. She recently converted from a 12-pound conventional grip, beginner’s ball to a 14-pound fingertip grip, reactive resin ball, and she had been throwing the new ball surprisingly well. But today she was throwing the ball all over the lane and not rolling it the way she had been. I could see that something was wrong in her backswing and release, but I couldn’t explain to her what it was, because the same learning disability that makes me so inept at so many things makes me utterly inept as a bowling coach. I’ve been bowling and watching professional bowling with almost religious fervor for over forty years. But I can’t analyze someone’s game on even the simplest level and tell her what she’s doing wrong, much less why she’s doing it wrong. Nor can I analyze my own mistakes and correct them or understand others when they tell me what I’m doing wrong. I just can’t conceptualize the mechanics of it in my mind. I depend solely on “feel” in my own game and am useless for advising anyone else.

I find this so frustrating at times, because not only can I not help anyone else to improve, but I’m also incapable of improving my own game beyond a modest level of proficiency. Oh, I can average over 200 on typical “house” conditions, and I’m averaging 220 in the league my wife and I bowl in now, but put me on the kind of lane conditions the pros bowl on in tournaments or put me up against professional or really good amateur bowers, and I’m hopelessly overmatched. People tell me I have the physical talent to be much better than I am. But I know that I’m not smart enough in the ways I need to be to get significantly better. At times, I just want to quit. I don’t want to go on stagnating with no hope of rising to a higher level. But I love the game too much to quit. And so I keep on keeping on, but never feeling close to satisfied with the results.

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